Hi Ladies. It’s that time of the month. Elizabeth (the vintage contessa) and I are interviewing someone over 50 with great style. I have a treat for you today. I am sure many of you have already watched makeup artist Kerry Lou Henson on her popular youtube channel silver style studio here. She is a master at making women our age look they’re very best. If not you will want to check her out. I am just delighted to be featuring here today. Let’s have some fun. Welcome to Ageless Style-Kerry Lou Henson.
Ageless Style-Kerry Lou Henson
Tell us a little about your background and how you ended up in the States.
I was born in London, England in 1958. As a teenager, I became a model until 1980, which was when I made my move to New York, where I have worked as a makeup artist and hairstylist for the last 43 years. I often prepare guests for appearances on some of the most popular TV shows, such as Good Morning America, The View, The Today Show, and many more! It has been a pleasure to work with such celebrities as Henry Winkler, Tracey Morgan, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, Anderson Cooper, actresses Tess Thompson, Jenna Coleman, and many more!
Now I live in Montclair NJ, with my husband, Joe. We have three grown children, Jenn, James, and Abbie. We are thrilled to be first-time grandparents to Cassia, born in 2020.
How long has your hair been silver/grey
My hair was long, curly, and brunette for most of my life. At around 38, a lot of silver started coming in around the front of my hairline. The roots would need a touch-up every two weeks; that silver would just gleam in the sunlight – it definitely wanted to be noticed!
At around 42 years old, I was still fighting the silver – dying it different shades of brown or cherry. The dye was taking a toll on my hair, and it looked so artificial at this point.
I decided to chop it all off. My stylist gave me a pixie cut, and I LOVED it!
And since the front area was determined to reveal its silver-self, I decided to let it come out and play – I called this silver lock of hair my “wisdom streak.”
This streak gave me an idea of what I would look like if I let my hair go natural….but I wasn’t quite ready yet.
At 52 (yes, this transition took a long time!) I decided to do more experimenting.
My hair was short and spikey at that time. I feel like it’s easy to experiment when your hair’s short; if you don’t like it, you can always cut it off, I reasoned.
This was my platinum blond phase – I looked like a female Billy Idol and loved this rock ‘n’ roll vibe!
I was pretty fearless with my hair! I must give some credit to my husband, Joe, for that attitude. He is very supportive and encouraging when I want to take chances with makeup and fashion; it helps that he’s a photographer and has a creative eye.
Lot’s of damaged and chemically fried hairs later, at around age 55, I decided this look wasn’t worth the time and money; it cost me $120 for the color, and $80 for the necessary once every 6 weeks hair-cut – And And I needed the cut because the ends were breaking off!
Also, I wondered, what were all these chemicals doing to my health?
I took the plunge and let my hair go naturally silver, and I never regretted it for a moment!
Thank goodness I made that decision. As we get older, our hair becomes thinner and more fragile, so I think I stopped dying it just in time. Now I love and pamper my hair and treat it with the respect it deserves!
How Long have you been a makeup artist? Was it your first and only career?
I was a model in London before becoming a makeup artist. My travels as a model brought me to New York, where I moved to the other side of the camera and began my career as a makeup artist, and hairstylist. I’ve been a makeup artist for about 43 years now – how time flies!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I really enjoy sharing all I have learned throughout my career, hoping that it can help enrich other women’s lives.
What inspired you to begin doing youtube videos for makeup for mature women? Was there a lack of information available?
The first video I made was called “Natural Makeup for Mature Women” starring my then 83-year-old mother! I was very nervous about uploading it to YouTube – you know, you hear these terrible stories about internet trolls and cyber-bullies. I was so pleasantly surprised at how the video was received. The viewers could not have been nicer, and they lavished compliments on my mom, which I passed onto her since she doesn’t use a computer. When I look at that video, there are so many things that I feel I could have done better, but I have learned over time that getting something done is better than waiting for a project to be perfect. I realize that people were reacting positively to the video’s genuine quality – it’s has received about 900,000 views so far!
Which are your most popular videos?
My most popular video is “Drugstore Makeup for Older Women,” Which has over one million views! Seeing how this video took off confirmed that most women are looking for a makeup routine that’s easy to apply and looks healthy and natural.
If they can achieve that without spending tons of money – so much the better!
What do you think is the biggest struggle for mature women when it comes to makeup?
The biggest struggle for mature women when it comes to makeup is finding suitable products for us. It’s challenging for mature women to go to a store like Sephora, and not get distracted by all the garish colors, sparkle, and spackle, that are being marketed towards much younger women.
A good compliment for me as a makeup artist is when a person compliments one of my clients on how great she looks and doesn’t mention the makeup. Thankfully the makeup companies are listening, and there are some great brands out there that are in alignment with this philosophy, one that comes to mind is RMS Beauty, which is almost a hybrid of makeup and skincare.
I know you have your brush set available on your website. Do you have other products that you highly recommend?
I highly recommend the Trestique Essential Eight makeup kit that Trestique sent me to review a few months ago. The kit has eight makeup items that are all in stick form, and they come with a brush or tool at the end of the handle!
All eight products fit into one cylindrical bag with a mirror in the cap, so you have everything you need for a full face of makeup in one compact kit.
I like the creamy formulas, especially for us older women, they glide on very smoothly, and they don’t settle into wrinkles.
The eye shadow colors are soft and muted, many of them in a matte finish, which is great for many mature women’s more delicate coloring.
How about skincare? Do you have products that you highly recommend?
A skincare item that I’ve been most impressed with lately, and one that I’m sure I’ll stick with, is an overnight serum cream from a Swedish company called Noomi – It’s their Birch Tech Hybrid Overnight Serum Cream. It’s great for women whose skin is too sensitive for Retin-a.
Noomi contains Retinol, Vitamin C, and other organic Nordic botanicals, giving your skin the collagen boost, and the plumped-up skin that’s needed as our skin ages, without the peeling and redness of Retin-A that so many women experience.
One more thing about this great product – it’s very concentrated, each bottle lasts me for about 3 months!
What do you enjoy doing in your free time outside of work?
Outside of work, I enjoy oil painting, although I have been neglecting that lately.
Who Inspires You and Why?
My mother has always been an inspiration to me. Although our recourses were very limited growing up, she still did the best she could for our family. She was very inventive when trying new and creative recipes for dinner, making our home comfortable, or sewing my and my two sisters’ clothes.
She was a stay-at-home-mom and also a fantastic seamstress. She would change a dress four times in its lifetime by adding a collar, altering the hem, or taking off the sleeves – she gave the illusion of having a much larger wardrobe than she really had!
She was my biggest cheerleader, always encouraging anything new that I wanted to try.
How would you describe your personal style?
Classic with a rock ‘n’ roll edge
What is your favorite accessory?
My favorite accessory is my silver Elsa Peretti Bone Cuff. My husband gave it to me as a Christmas gift about 16 years ago. It has stood the test of time, and it gives everything I wear a little edge!
What are your favorite color combinations?
Colors that bring me joy are all things orchid and fuchsia and muted versions of those. It’s another one of those “life is short” things – life’s too short to wear colors that don’t bring you joy.
Do you have a signature piece that defines your style?
I love this leather jacket by Hugo Boss that I bought a couple of years ago. I think it’s one of those pieces that I will have forever, and I predict it will get better with age.
Do you have any style rules that you live by, or do you choose to break the rules?
I go by the wise adage that you have to know the rules before breaking them.
Do you have any favorite online or boutique sources?
I like Johnny Was. They have some beautiful kimono-style tops in gorgeous colors. Just throw one over your favorite skinny jeans, add a johnny boot or your favorite heels, and you totally elevate your look!
Do you have any anti-aging foods and or supplements that are your go to’s
I do believe in a holistic approach to skincare. Almost everything you do affects your skin and muscles: exercise, food, stress levels, the amount of sleep you get.
If you do even gentle exercise that gets your blood flowing, you’ll see your skin improve.
Yoga is excellent for the skin because it really gets the blood flowing around your face, especially when you do inverted poses.
For the last couple of years, I have added a couple of supplements to my diet; one is liquid collagen; I use a formula from Nature’s Truth. Another is a protein powder that I add to my smoothies, called Amazing Protein Glow, which supports collagen production – you may have realized by now that I’m all about collagen production!
GET KERRY LOU’S LOOK
What advice do you have for women over 50 to be the best they can be?
The most successful women I’ve met, are those that are true to themselves.
Don’t try to be someone you’re not – there’s only one you. By honoring your unique spirit, everything else will fall into place.
Thank you Kerry Lou for allowing me to interview you. You are so inspiring to all of us over 50. Don’t forget to check out Kerry Lou here on her youtube channel. You can follow her here on Instagram here. You can find her entire portfolio here. If you would like to purchase her brush set you can do it here.
Thank you so much for reading Ageless Style-Kerry Lou Henson. You might enjoy reading some of my other Ageless Style interviews here.
All of Kerry Lou’s beautiful photographs were taken by her talented husband Joe at Joe Henson Photography. They are quite a dynamic duo.
Now pop over and see who Elizabeth , aka the Contessa, is featuring this month. I know you won’t be disappointed.